Charred leeks with leek ash crème fraîche, burnt citrus dressing and soft egg


This barbecued leek recipe is surprisingly complex, seeing as it only has three core ingredients. The charred leeks are dressed in charred citrus juice, working in perfect harmony with the soft-boiled eggs and leek ash crème fraîche. If you've never made leek ash before it's definitely worth doing – a simple and delicious way to infuse all sorts of dishes with incredible flavour.

First published in 2019

This vegetarian barbecue recipe uses up the often discarded green ends of the leeks by burning them to a crisp and blitzing into a 'leek ash'. Though it may sound a bit unusual, the deep, smoky, oniony flavour of the powder is surprisingly complex and almost tastes like dark cocoa powder. It takes no time at all, keeps indefinitely and helps combat food waste! Try using the leftover ash folded through mayonnaise or as a steak seasoning.





Leek ash crème fraîche

  • 4 tbsp of crème fraîche
  • salt

Burnt citrus dressing

To serve

  • 2 eggs, soft-boiled, peeled and quartered
  • 50g of feta, crumbled (optional)
  • lemon thyme, leaves picked (optional)


Preheat the barbecue to around 200°C and set it up for direct cooking
Chop off the green part of the leeks and set aside the white parts. Pull apart the green leaves, wash them thoroughly and dry well. Place them on the grill and leave until completely blackened and dried out (about 30 minutes)
Remove, leave to cool, then blitz to a fine powder in a a spice grinder. This leek ash can now be kept indefinitely in an airtight container
Slice the whites of the leeks in half lengthways – do not remove the root as this will keep them together. Place them on a large sheet of foil then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the bay leaves on top then wrap up into a loose parcel. Place on the barbecue for 15–20 minutes or until the leeks are soft and tender but still holding their shape
While the leeks are cooking, make the crème fraîche. Stir 1 tablespoon of the leek ash through the crème fraîche, then taste and season with salt
Unwrap the leeks from the foil and place them directly on the barbecue grill. Halve the lemon and lime and place them on the barbecue, cut-side down. Cook both until nicely charred, turning the leeks occasionally (about 10 minutes)
Remove the leeks, lemon and limes from the heat. Squeeze the juice from the charred citrus into a bowl and whisk in the wholegrain mustard. Add the oil and whisk into a dressing. Taste and season with salt and pepper
Slice the leek halves lengthways and dress with the burnt citrus dressing. Add some spoonfuls of the leek ash crème fraîche to the plate then top with the leeks, soft boiled eggs, thyme and feta (if using). Sprinkle with a small pinch of leek ash for an extra smoky flavour
First published in 2019

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